Dr Johann Schmid, Director COI Strategy & Defence, contributed to the Conference on the Partnership for Peace (PfP) Consortium Emerging Security Challenges Working Group, which was conducted in the framework of the NATO-Ukraine Platform on Countering Hybrid Warfare in Kyiv (UKR). He introduced Hybrid CoE to the audience and discussed different dimensions of the concept of hybrid warfare during the first panel.
Key thesis advanced: Hybrid warfare is a threefold strategic challenge.
- First, it involves the danger of losing a war before even recognising that a hybrid attack is taking place.
- Second, the defender is confronted with a form of conflict that has parameters and mechanisms that are difficult to see through.
- Third, HW provides offensive options, in particular by making use of initiative, surprise and creativity.
The overarching goal of the conference was to examine hybrid threats/warfare, their recent evolution, and how they might evolve over time. The discussion was considered timely, as it is a likely technique that will be increasingly employed in the near future by a number of actors. The Ukrainian example is of utmost importance in this context. The “value” of hybrid warfare is traceable to its possible use in advance of – and during – a conflict, the ability to camouflage intent, and the ability to use enablers such as cyberspace and other evolving technologies. Comparing the experience of Ukraine and Georgia with lessons learned in other countries and regions raises awareness and helps to anticipate potential developments in the field of hybrid threats/warfare.